A crucial fundraiser is forced to be cancelled and then what? Soroptimist International of Surrey/Delta reimagined their annual luncheon into a virtual evening event to secure the necessary funds to support their projects and awards. 

Until this year, Soroptimist International of Surrey/Delta ran their Live Your Dream Luncheon every spring. The funds raised from this luncheon are crucial for the awards and programs Soroptimist Surrey/Delta support as this luncheon brings in the bulk of their fundraising for the year. The awards are given to women and girls going to school to improve the lives of their families, outstanding highschool volunteering and more.  

This year, Soroptimist Surrey/Delta planned to host their luncheon in April, but it was postponed due to covid to the end of May. They were then forced to cancel the fundraiser they heavily rely on.

Their in person event generated funds through ticket sales, a basket raffle and a 50/50 raffle. Their event featured speakers, a fashion show, and live musical entertainment. This year, they knew they would have to pivot. Linda explained that, at this point, they didn’t know what they were going to do. 

“We were very concerned about what we would do if we didn’t have a fundraiser. Without a fundraiser, how are we going to support our projects and awards, what would we do?” 

– Linda Cunliffe, President of Soroptimist International of Surrey/Delta Club

Linda came across the Stay at Home Gala run by the Community Foundations of Canada on trellis. Her and a few other Soroptimist members watched the virtual evening event and thought “we can do that, but we have no idea how.” A virtual event was a perfect way to hold onto a few of the key elements of their luncheon and was still possible to run amongst covid. 

Linda and her team began to research how they were going to pull this off. They attended our live calls with a fundraising specialist, dove into our resource guide on running virtual galas and dinner events, and got creative about how to add revenue drivers to their virtual event. 

“What sold us on trellis was that it was local and Canada based… more extensive event pages than Eventbrite, the prices were great…most of our donors covered the fees so it didn’t cost us anything.” – Linda Cunliffe, President of Soroptimist International of Surrey/Delta Club

With the help of our resources and a team of creative and motivated volunteers, Soroptimist Surrey/Delta ran their first virtual fundraiser event in place of their annual luncheon. Linda was thrilled to be able to invite guests from outside of Surrey or Delta and host a global event.

Soroptimist Surrey/Delta were not able to hold a 50/50 because they sold tickets to multiple provinces and, because of shipping complications, turned their basket raffle into a smaller scaled silent auction. Their virtual event drove in revenue through ticket sales, a silent auction, e-commerce items, and donations. 

Trellis’ user friendly donation buttons helped Soroptimist Surrey/Delta secure more donations than their in person event and powered people to donate if they were unable to purchase a ticket. 

Linda and her team did a fabulous job producing the content for the show. They prerecorded most elements, to ensure they would be polished and on time, and had live segments in-between. The show featured a fashion show, music, speakers, a live comedian and more.

Trellis made it easy:

“What I appreciated most [about trellis] was that when we had a challenge or a problem, we could call or email trellis and it was fixed…immediate responses and support that you don’t get with other platforms.” – Linda Cunliffe, President of Soroptimist International of Surrey/Delta Club

Soroptimist Surrey/Delta’s online event was so well received that they have been encouraged to submit their virtual event for a Western Canada Region and Federation (Soroptimist International of the Americas) Celebrating Success Award. 

In the future, Linda would like to explore blended virtual and in-person events in the hopes of running their annual luncheon locally with global ticketing options to watch the entertainment. 

“I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend trellis to other organizations running fundraisers.” – Linda Cunliffe, President of Soroptimist International of Surrey/Delta Club

Soroptimist Surrey/Delta didn’t raise as much money as their previous luncheon and credit that to the limitations they had to raffle laws and shipping challenges that limited the amount of silent auctions items they were comfortable with, but they are thrilled that they received more donations this year because people donated if they couldn’t attend. Moving forward to their next event, Linda and her team have reflected on their learnings and are eager to improve and further reimagine their fundraising strategies. 

“I have no hesitation running another event on trellis.” – Linda Cunliffe, President of Soroptimist International of Surrey/Delta Club

What Linda loved most about her experience with trellis: 

“The service we got, personal service, ease of communication, online live sessions, resource guide to refer to, price was phenomenal, really costing us nothing because people are paying for the service fee.”

Watch the full video interview with Linda Cunliffe, President of Soroptimist International of Surrey/Delta Club.